Shane Van Gisbergen has won this evenings Race 21 of Supercars at The Bend in South Australia. Starting from the front row, the championship leader was put under pressure early by surprise pole-sitter Zak Best and Cameron Waters, but remained composed and exercised a strategy which saw him pit much later than the rest of the field.
Staying out proved effective, as the undercut had played a key role in early proceedings and allowed Will Davison to make significant time gains on the leaders of the field. Waters and Best were both victims to this, emerging from their stops behind the Shell V-Power racer. Davison managed to finish the event in second, with Chaz Mostert rounding out the podium.
Andre Heimgartner was the second best Kiwi, finishing in 10th place after an impressive opening lap saw him make up five positions. Chris Pither rounded out the New Zealand trio in action, coming in 24th.
The front-runners were decided from the beginning, with Waters getting the best start of the front two rows. Best and Van Gisbergen were slow to get away, however the wildcard, Best, managed to hold on after the long run into turn one, with Waters managing only to overtake Van Gisbergen on the inside to take second.
The significance of starting on pole as a wildcard may have gotten the better of Best, who was quickly under investigation for a jumpstart. Race control, however, deemed no investigation was necessary allowing the 20 year old to maintain his lead.
Van Gisbergen managed to take back second spot at Turn 1 on Lap 7, diving down the inside of Waters. Slight contact put left rear bumper damage on the Red Bull Commodore, however this was only cosmetic.
Lap 11 was where Van Gisbergen took the lead off Best, with Waters pitting from third that same lap. Waters was close behind the two leaders when he took his compulsory stop, but emerged behind the Shell V-Power car of Will Davison and just ahead of Anton de Pasquale.
The undercut proved effective for Davison and Anton de Pasquale, with the long laps of The Bend giving Davison clear air to put in solid lap times. This saw Best emerge from his stop on Lap 12 behind Davison and Waters, also losing out to the undercut.
The tide started to swing later in the race, with the few drivers who remained out beginning to rebuild the gap over Davison, Waters and Best. Mostert stopped from a net second to emerge ahead of Best and de Pasquale.
Fresher tyres were assisted by a mistake from Waters, who ran off the track at Turn 1, which allowed a Mostert overtake to run second of the cars who had stopped, behind Davison. Van Gisbergen, however, remained out as the only car in the field yet to come in.
He finally stopped on Lap 20 to maintain his lead, with Davison only one second behind. This was how the results played out, with Van Gisbergen claiming the win, Davison second and Mostert third.
Best finished behind Waters, managing to hold Brodie Kostecki off to finish fifth place, the best result of his career in Supercars to date.
Race 22 and 23 take place tomorrow, preceded by two timed qualifying sessions.